We often hear about workers being exposed to asbestos on the job, but did you know that students face exposure at school, as well? Until the 1970s, nearly every school in the United States was constructed with asbestos-containing products.
Students face exposure today as those products and materials begin to break down or when renovations happen within the structures. Recently, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, air tests showed a level of asbestos fibers above the acceptable level. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that workers working to replace the building's heating and ventilation system "did not follow the correct procedures for containing and removing asbestos, leading to its release into the air." It is likely that school district workers and contractors that worked in the building inhaled asbestos fibers.
The building was closed for one week and was scheduled to reopen after the asbestos was contained. Luckily the work was being done during the summer when students were not present. It is not likely that students or teachers were exposed.
Asbestos is likely to be found in vinyl floor tiles, ceiling tiles, pipe insulation, and other locations in older schools. Do you want to know more about where asbestos can be found in schools? Take a look at our Asbestos in Older Schools page on our website.
Source: The Gazette